May 17, 2024

Enhancing Nonprofit Operations: A Ten-Step Checklist for Successful Temporary Staffing

By Laura White, HR Director, Consulting

Enhancing Nonprofit Operations: A Ten-Step Checklist for Successful Temporary Staffing Nonprofit & Social Sector

In the ever-evolving landscape of the optimal staffing structure for nonprofit organizations, temporary staffing is often a consideration. While this approach offers flexibility and can address immediate staffing needs, nonprofits need to weigh several factors to ensure that temporary staffing is the right approach for their needs.

Understanding the Role of Temporary Staff

Temporary workers, often sourced through staffing agencies or as independent contractors, can fill a variety of roles, from administrative support to project management. They are typically employed for a set period or the duration of a specific project. Nonprofits can use the following ten considerations as a “checklist” to help them make informed decisions about using temporary staff and better ensure a smooth process that aligns with their strategic goals and operational requirements.

Consideration 1: Assessing Organizational Needs

  • Evaluate the current workload and identify gaps in staffing.
  • Define the objectives for bringing in temporary staff (e.g., to manage a short-term project, cover for staff on leave, or address seasonal peaks in workload).

Consideration 2: Aligning with Organizational Values and Culture

  • Consider the cultural fit of potential temporary staff and how they will integrate with the existing team.
  • Ensure that temporary staff understand and align with the organization’s mission, values, goals, and culture.
  • Consider an onboarding process that communicates the nonprofit’s internal operations to temporary staff.

Consideration 3: Clarity in Roles and Expectations—Job Analysis/Description and Performance Management

  • Define clear job roles and responsibilities for temporary positions to prevent role ambiguity. This includes outlining the necessary skills, responsibilities, and the duration of the assignment.
  • Determine the experience and expertise required for the role to ensure a proper fit.
  • Set measurable and achievable goals and expectations for temporary staff so that their effectiveness can be measured.
  • Depending on the length of the assignment, consider implementing a system for regular feedback and performance reviews to monitor the progress of temporary staff.

Consideration 4: Compliance with Labor Laws

  • Review employment laws related to temporary staffing, including classification of workers, overtime rules, and compliance with any ERISA-covered benefit plans.

Consideration 5: Conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Evaluate the cost implications of hiring temporary staff, including agency fees, potential benefits, and the impact on the organization’s budget.
  • Weigh the benefits of temporarily filling a role against the investment in training and the temporary nature of the relationship.

Consideration 6: Integration into the Team

  • Foster a welcoming environment for temporary staff to facilitate integration into the team.
  • Establish, encourage, and maintain clear lines of communication and feedback between temporary and permanent staff to encourage teamwork and collaboration and ensure that temporary staff feel valued and engaged.

Consideration 7: Managing Impact on Permanent Staff

  • Address concerns of permanent staff regarding the use of temporary staff, such as job security and additional workload. Proactive communication with permanent staff is essential.
  • Use temporary staffing strategically to support, not replace, the work of permanent employees.

Consideration 8: Long-Term Planning

  • View temporary staffing as a potential talent pipeline for future permanent positions.
  • Assess the performance of temporary staff for potential fit in the organization beyond the temporary assignment.

Consideration 9: Exit Strategy

  • Plan for the end of the temporary assignment, including offboarding procedures and knowledge transfer to permanent staff.
  • Evaluate the success of the temporary staffing arrangement and gather lessons learned for future reference.

Consideration 10: Future Opportunities

  • If the temporary staff member is successful, consider them for future opportunities within the organization.
  • Maintain a pool of reliable temporary staff who can be engaged for future projects or needs.

Temporary staffing can be a valuable and cost-effective strategy for nonprofits to manage fluctuating workloads and bring in specialized expertise. A thoughtful and thorough review of these ten considerations can empower nonprofit organizations to maximize the benefits of temporary staffing while minimizing potential challenges.

Nonprofit leaders are encouraged to consult with HR professionals and staffing experts to navigate the temporary staffing process and to find solutions that best fit their organizational needs. The experienced staff of Marcum Managed HR can provide valuable guidance to non-profits to help them decide which staffing options work best for their organization.